Music Reviews

Beulah

The Coast is Never Clear

Velocette

After Beulah’s lackluster debut CD, Handsome Western States, their sophomore release, When Your Heartstrings Break (1999), proved their exceptional knack for writing brainy, sophisticated pop songs. On Heart Strings, San Francisco-based Beulah evoked a prettier Built To Spill, delivering melodies that could have been the West Coast’s answer to The Pernice Brothers. Fortuitously, The Coast is Never Clear finds Beulah continuing in this vein. It could even be argued that The Coast is Never Clear is their best effort yet. There are so many brilliant songs herein• more, in fact, than most groups can generate in a career. All have a powerfully emotional build, climaxing in fine tuned, memorable choruses. Some will be happy to find that Miles Kurosky’s vocals on The Coast are less the whiny, sub-Neil Young variety they were in the past, and more the sweet Joe Pernice sort. On “A Good Man is Easy to Kill,” Kurosky is in top form. His mellifluous singing is expertly juxtaposed with the lyric’s gruesomeness: “When you flew through that windshield and your life passed reel to reel/Was there a bit part for me• When they drilled holes in your skull and screwed that halo to your head/Did you think that you could fly?” Irony ain’t dead in the hands of Beulah.

Stylistically, a good deal of the songs have a swanky feel about them. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of The Aluminum Group’s retro-ish lounge pop, but much more interesting and challenging than that. There’s a good dash of indie-pop-punk numbers as well, such as the raucous “Silver Lining” and the Velvet Underground-tinged “Gravity’s Bringing Us Down.” A couple of the best numbers, the back-to-back “Hey Brother” and “I’ll Be Your Lampshade,” are instant classics. On these Beulah has perfected the pop form first toyed with on their When Your Heartstrings Break: complete with splendid turns of musical and lyrical phrasing combined with a lilting West Coast sound (‘70s period Beach Boys, distilled Spanish influences and Van Dyke Parks). Needless to say, this disc is spectacular • one of the shining moments for pop in 2001.

Velocette Records, 83 Walton St., Atlanta, GA 30303; http://www.velocetterecords.com


Recently on Ink 19...

Dawn Riding

Dawn Riding

Music Reviews

You’re Still Here (The Long Road Society and Speakeasy Studios SF). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

Little Feat

Little Feat

Event Reviews

With Miko Marks opening a wonderful evening in Iowa City, Little Feat plunder their back catalog as Jeremy Glazier stands beneath the freak flag.

Meditations on Crime

Meditations on Crime

Print Reviews

Politics is Crime. Crime is Politics. Discuss… Carl F. Gauze reviews Meditations on Crime, the book half of Harper Simon’s super-collaborative art and music project.

Porn and Ice Cream

Porn and Ice Cream

Screen Reviews

Three aimless misfits find themselves a purpose when they unwittingly start a band. It’s not your typical rock story, as Ian Koss explains.

Fire and Iceland

Fire and Iceland

Interviews

New York filmmaker April Anderson talks with Bob Pomeroy about volcanoes, horses, and making documentaries in Iceland.

Best of Film 2022

Best of Film 2022

Screen Reviews

With a year of festival and microcinema screenings behind them, Lily and Generoso select and review their ten favorite films, six supplemental features, and one exceptional repertory release of 2022.

Laura Citarella

Laura Citarella

Interviews

Director Laura Citarella, of the famed filmmaking collective El Pampero Cine, has created with her newest feature Trenque Lauquen a provocative transformation of her protagonist Laura (Laura Parades), whom Citarella first introduced in her 2011 film Ostende. Lily and Generoso enjoyed an in-depth conversation with Citarella about Trenque Lauquen when it screened at AFI Fest 2022.

New Music Now 009: Sleepyhead

New Music Now 009: Sleepyhead

Features

Join us for a new edition of New Music Now, with our special musical guest, Sleepyhead. All three members of the band are school teachers, so you didn’t hear it from us, but there might be a pop quiz about their album New Alchemy after the show.

%d bloggers like this: